Referendum Frequently Asked Questions
For answers to questions that are not listed below, please call 1-800-661-8683 (Mon-Fri, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Sat 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
- I didn’t get a voting package. How can I ask for one?
- My voting package is incomplete.
- Do I have to answer both questions on the ballot?
- Do I have to rank all three voting systems on the second question?
- How can I protect the personal information on my voting package?
- How can homeless people vote?
- Can people with vision impairments get a braille ballot?
- When will voting results be available?
- Is the referendum binding?
- How will the first question be counted?
- How will the second question be counted?
After the Referendum
- What happens if First Past the Post is the preferred system?
- What happens if a proportional representation voting system is the preferred system?
I didn’t get a voting package. How can I ask for one?
Eligible voters who don’t receive a package by November 2 can request one online, through our 1-800 contact centre, and in-person at these locations.
My voting package is incomplete.
Contact the 1-800 contact centre or go in-person to a Service BC location Referendum Service Office. See locations here.
Do I have to answer both questions on the ballot?
No. You can answer both questions or just one. Your ballot will still be counted if you only answer one question.
Do I have to rank all three voting systems on the second question?
No. You can rank one, two or all three systems.
How can I protect the personal information on my voting package?
Complete your voting package in a private location and don’t leave your voting package unattended. If you are concerned about your personal information on the certification envelope, you may insert the instruction guide or another piece of paper inside the return envelope to obscure the cover of the certification envelope. This will not invalidate your vote.
How can homeless people vote?
Voters experiencing homelessness can use the address of a social services agency to register to vote and receive a voting package.
Can people with vision impairments get a braille ballot?
Sight-impaired voters can call us and ask for a braille ballot question, and a braille ballot template to help them mark their ballot.
What happens to my completed voting package?
How will the ballots be counted?
All returned voting packages undergo a screening process before the ballot is counted by an electronic tabulator. Tabulators are the most efficient and accurate way to count the referendum ballots.
If the tabulator cannot count a valid vote, referendum officials review the ballot manually and make the final determination about whether to accept or reject the ballot. The tabulators being used are a proven technology and extremely accurate.
When will voting results be available?
Elections BC will begin counting the ballots after the close of voting, but how long it takes to count the ballots depends on turnout. We will publish a daily report of the number of voting packages received on our website between November 2 and November 30.
Is the referendum binding?
How will the first question be counted?
If more than half the votes support First Past the Post on the first question, the voting system will stay the same. If more than half the votes support proportional representation on the first question, the proportional system with the most support on the second question will be adopted.
How will the second question be counted?
Voters rank the proportional voting systems on the second question in order of preference. If a voting system has more than half the first preferences, that system has the most support and no further counting is needed. Otherwise a second round of counting is required.
In the second round, the system with the least amount of support is eliminated. The second preferences of the voters who had the eliminated system as their first preference will be transferred to the remaining two systems. Whichever system has the most votes after the second round of counting will be the system with the most support.
After the Referendum
What happens if First Past the Post is the preferred system?
The voting system will stay the same.
What happens if a proportional representation voting system is the preferred system?
If the majority of votes support proportional representation on Question 1, the voting system with the most support on Question 2 will be adopted.
If a proportional representation voting system is adopted, government has said that after the referendum:
- a legislative committee will determine how some aspects of the new system will work
- an independent electoral boundaries commission will determine the number and boundaries of the electoral districts and regions represented in the legislature
- the total number of MLAs in the legislature will be between 87 and 95 (currently there are 87)
- no region in the province will have fewer MLAs than it does now
- another referendum will be held after two general elections to see if B.C. wants to keep the new voting system or go back to using First Past the Post